Obama White House official bids for The Weinstein Company


Maria Contreras-Sweet and Barack ObamaImage copyright
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Contreras-Sweet worked for Barack Obama between 2014 and 2017

A former Obama administrator has put in a $275m (£207.5m) bid for The Weinstein Company (TWC) – and wants to install a majority-female board.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Maria Contreras-Sweet, who led the Small Business Administration under President Obama, is behind the bid.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein was sacked from TWC after he was accused of sexual harassment and assault.

He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

‘Industry inspiration’

Contreras-Sweet wants to set up a fund for Weinstein’s alleged victims and a mediation process, the Hollywood Reporter says.

It reports the businesswoman is backed by silent partners, many of them women.

One of those supporting Contreras-Sweet is lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing several of the women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and alleged assault.

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Contreras-Sweet wants a female-led venture to be “an inspiration” to the film industry

The Wall Street Journal says Contreras-Sweet made the offer via a letter sent to the TWC board.

In the letter, the businesswoman writes she has been “profoundly affected by the recent revelations” and that “reorganising the company as a woman-led venture will be an inspiration to the industry, and a new model for how an entertainment company can be both financially successful and treat all its employees with dignity and respect”.

Last week, TWC gave up the rights to StudioCanal’s Paddington 2, which will now be released in the US and Canada by Warner Bros.

Last year, Harvey Weinstein said TWC, including its film library, was worth up to $800m and had no debt.

However, a number of the firm’s partners have cut ties after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment.

Talks to sell TWC had entered into a preliminary deal with US private equity firm Colony Capital at the beginning of November.

But it is understood Colony found the firm was a less appealing prospect than it had first thought and the deal fell through.

The Weinstein Company was set up in 2005, twelve years after the two brothers sold Miramax to Disney.

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